The garage in most homes is more than just a place to store your vehicles or stack boxes of Christmas decorations and yard lights. For most men it is a retreat, a secluded grotto of peace and independence, the throne room of their one house kingdom. Walk down the street in any suburban neighborhood on a random evening or a Saturday afternoon and you will no doubt see through the open garage doors many men standing in there, some possibly even in their underwear, tinkering with this that or the other. It doesn’t matter if they are changing the oil in their car, waxing their motorcycle, fixing a piece of broken lawn furniture, or planning out the next big home improvement project (which will more than likely never get completed) they are in their space, and they couldn’t be happier. Men love their garages, but why? What is it about working in the garage that makes men so happy?
The truth is that men love to work in the garage for one primary and foundational reason, it’s their space to do with what they want for a little while. It’s a place that they can call their own. Most of the house is usually laid claim to by the wife and kids, but the garage can be their own. It doesn’t matter if they are working on the car, fixing the mower, rewiring a lamp, or just hanging out with their buddies listening to the radio and drinking a beer, it’s a place and a time for them away from all of the hectic and heavy responsibilities that they have in life. In most households, it’s a given that when the man of the house is in the garage, leave him be, when he is ready, he will come out and be a better person for having his alone time.
Another reason why men love to work in the garage has nothing to do with the work that they are doing, and more to do with the space that they are doing it in. Most guys take their garage very seriously and turn it into a personal space that reflects their personality. As stated earlier, the main of the house is generally related as being the domain of the wife. In the old days, a man may have had a den, or a study, or even his home office to make his own. In today’s middle class suburban landscape men have the “man cave” and if they do not have space in the house or basement to assemble this all important fortress of solitude then they fall to the garage. The concept of converting the garage into a “man cave” started in the late 90s, but the idea of the garage being a place for men to display their bowling trophies, hang up their naughty pin up pictures and sports posters, store their high school memorabilia, and otherwise show off the myriad of things that mean a lot to them and embody what is most important in their life as an individual, dates back many years before that.
Men also like to work in the garage because sometimes they want to do things that they feel that the rest of the family just might not understand. Some men like to have personal intimate time in the garage away from the wife, others like to pursue a hobby that they may feel embarrassed about sharing with others because is doesn’t fit in with their perceived persona, others may like to just have a place where they can do “their thing” be it building birdhouses, assembling model airplanes, or curating a collection of rare sized fasteners from the early 1900’s. No matter what it is that a man is doing when he is “working in the garage” the important thing is that he is doing it for him so that he can be happy and in the end, be a better man, a better employee, a better father, a better husband, a better friend, and a better lover.
So why do men love to work in the garage? The simple answer is that there is no simple answer. Men are creatures of complex and often illogical reasoning. As such, there are a lot of reasons why men love their garages and why they love to spend so much time in them. So, the next time you are driving past a house with an open garage door late in the evening, and you see a man standing there in his tighty-whities with a wrench in his hand, cursing at the lawnmower engine that he has in several pieces on the workbench before him and you wonder why men love to work in the garage so much, just tell yourself “because it makes them happy.”